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Travelling without COVID vaccine to become punishable offence: minister

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-08-03 17:50:28 BdST

bdnews24
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Any citizen above the age of 18 who travels without receiving the COVID-19 vaccine after Aug 11 will be punished under the law, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque says.

The minister made the statement following a meeting on the pandemic situation and next steps with high-level members of the government at the Secretariat on Tuesday.

A decision was made to extend the current ongoing lockdown by another five days to Aug 10 at the meeting.

After a week when the government will push its nationwide vaccination drive, stores, businesses and offices will be allowed to reopen on Aug 11. Public transport will also be allowed to resume in limited fashion ‘and through rotation’.

Anyone without the vaccine will not be allowed to start work, the minister said.

“If, after Aug 11, someone over the age of 18 travels without having received a vaccine, it shall be considered a punishable offence. Anyone travelling by road or river, by car, motorcycle, autorickshaw, bus, train, whatever transport, must have received the vaccine. We will make the process simple and prioritise,” he said.

“Information on vaccine recipients will be uploaded directly to a website – no one will get anywhere by lying. On Aug 7, Aug 8 and Aug 9, we will give them the opportunity to get vaccines before stores open. The meeting made this decision so stores can reopen from Aug 11.”

Vaccines will be administered at the village level, the minister said.

“No one will be able to say that they were not able to get the vaccine. If you do not follow the law, then, according to the ordinance issued, you can face penalties at different levels.”

“Strict action will be taken if people do not wear masks and break health restrictions.”

“In 7 days, from Aug 7, we will administer nearly 10 million vaccine shots at every union and ward in the country. We will need the support of many to carry out this drive. That is why we held a meeting with ministries and the heads of the armed forces today to request their support.”

“In addition to getting the vaccine, it is also essential that people wear masks and maintain social distancing. The police could be given particular powers so they can enforce these rules properly and, even if it is small, impose a fine on anyone for not wearing a mask. We would need an ordinance for this. We have discussed it and we may decide to take that step.”